Suspect interview: Mike ‘Mud’ Malone.
Taken October 19, 1926. Witnessing officers Detective Sergeant Terence Wilson and Officer Joe Collins. Stenotypist Mary Barker.
I know what you all think. You look at me and you think I did it. You think I killed Doctor Kipley. You think you got me. You think it was some kind of hit. Well, you’re wrong, way wrong. I never killed the Doctor. Listen to me and I’ll tell you. I didn’t kill the Doctor. I killed the thing that killed the Doctor.
So last week, O’Bannion says to me, he says, “Hey Mike, go and pay Lewis the bookie a visit. He’s behind.” I don’t ask no questions. O’Bannion says go pay the guy a visit, I go pay the guy a visit.
So I knock on Lewis’s door. No answer, but I see the light is on, so I kick it in. I see the place is a mess, stuff thrown around, broken, so I go in. I’m thinking Lewis got in deep with another crowd and they got to him first, maybe the Clover boys. I go through to the lounge and there he is, or most of him. I never seen anything like it. Someone sure did a number on him. Whoever he owed, they sure made him pay.
O’Bannion won’t be happy. He don’t like no one else leaning on a guy he’s supposed to be leaning on. So I know I’ve got to find out who it was. I’m wearing my gloves and boy am I glad. I turn the place over. It was messy, but I find Lewis’s books and his stash. The stash I take for O’Bannion. The betting books I flip through. One name stands out. Doc Kipley.
Now I don’t do numbers, I’m just muscle, but even I can see from the Doc’s wagers he was desperate. He’s doubling down, over and over. Why Lewis was covering him I don’t know. Finally, the Doc hits. A big win on a long shot at Suffolk Downs. I can tell it wipes Lewis out. He wasn’t holding out on O’Bannion, he was cleaned out.
So who topped him? I still don’t know, but I figure I should talk to Kipley. Those bets were curious. The next day I head over to the Doc’s.
Something is definitely up, the surgery is closed. A crowd of patients is bitching to the nurse who don’t know where the Doc is. I slip around the back, see if I can get in, and I see this guy ducking out the back door and down the alley. He don’t look like no doctor. He looks like money. So I follow him.
He don’t see me. I don’t get seen if I don’t want to. Where does he go? Straight to this big house over on Washington. Up the steps and inside. I go round the back. It’s daytime but all the curtains are closed. I listen at the cellar door, someone is singing. I pop the padlock and sneak into the cellar.
There is a light down the corridor, flickering, and I can hear the singing, although its more like chanting, you know, like monks. I edge along until I can see. There’s a bunch of creepy guys in silver robes waving knives and all standing around this naked guy lying tied up inside a circle of candles. They are all singing and chanting and I’ve never heard anything like it. They aren’t singing in English. Then this one robed guy, must be the leader, steps forward and reaches down with this huge knife.
The fella on the floor is gagged but he starts struggling and then sees me and his eyes meet mine. He freezes. The guy with the knife sees him freeze and stops. Then he looks round and he sees me too. I don’t know what the hell is going on but I don’t want to be the next guy in the circle, so I pull out my gat and start pumping lead into these robed guys.
They all start screaming and running about. I’m yelling too. I don’t mind saying I’m freaked out. Then they are all gone, just a couple of bodies lying around, and its me and the naked guy.
I run forward, grab him and cut the ropes and yank off his gag, then haul him to his feet and start dragging him back to the cellar door. The chanting has started again, but I don’t pay no attention. The guy is a deadweight so I can’t move fast. He is mumbling something about a summoning, then he says his name is Kipley. So I found the Doc.
We are almost at the cellar door when it suddenly gets cold and this icy wind blows past us. The chanting has stopped and I can hear one of the robed guys laugh. Then there is another laugh, deeper, like an animal, and I can hear flapping like wings. I tell you I nearly had a seizure. Ripley starts screaming, then I’m screaming and I can hear something else screaming behind us.
I’m pulling Kipley down the passageway, his eyes are just staring, his mind is gone and he is just mumbling and gibbering and he goes limp. Then there is a rush of wind and a snarl and his body is pulled out of my hands. Something like bat-wings slaps my face and I stumble back. In the dark, silhouetted against the candlelight, I see a thing tearing at Kipley’s body over and over again. It wan’t a man, it wasn’t a dog, it wasn’t a bat, it wasn’t anything I’ve ever seen.
Then it stops and it looks at me. Three red eyes just stare at me for a second. I can’t move. Then it rushes at me in a swirl of wings and fangs and I start screaming and firing and I just see claws and teeth in the gun flashes and the thing’s head explodes and it slams into me and I don’t remember nothing else.
I wake up and I’m in the Doc’s office. The Doc’s body is next to me. The knife is in my hand, and you guys are hammering on the door.
That’s all I know.
I had a few plays of my two rubbish decks from the deluxe expansions, the Yog-Sothoth deck and the Silver Twilight deck.
The Silver Twilight deck won fairly easily. It just seemed to work very nicely. I’m not saying it is in any way a proper competitive deck, but each card seemed to work very neatly with all the others.
The base mechanic of bouncing either my own or the opponents cards both helped me and hindered my opponent (in this case also me, ha ha).
This feel was very similar to the mechanics I was used to in Magic. Usually card effects in Call of Cthulhu just relate to the various icon struggles during the story phase, so this is a nice variation.
A good example of this was using Knight of the Void to keep bouncing one of my cards to my hand and replaying it for its ‘enters play’ effect.
Good targets for this are Lord Jeffrey Farrington (who will bounce an opponent’s character when he returns) or even Young Initiate (who gives another of my characters willpower).
In contrast, the Yog deck never seemed to come together. I was always short of characters, so that getting even one of them bounced was crippling.
Also, I wasn’t making best use of my abilities. I should probably have been using the disabling and blanking spells more.
One of my strategies for the deck was to bring Yog himself into play using the souls of a bunch of dead sorcerers, but I never had Yog in hand ready to play let alone having enough sorcerers.
There are only four sorcerer characters in this expansion, which is a total of 12 cards, so it would probably take a very long time to get enough of them played and then killed.
The other main mechanic in the expansion is cards that work from the discard pile. I hadn’t really considered this, but reducing Yog’s cost depends on cards being in the discard pile and one of the sorcerers, the Lost Oracle, even works best from beyond the grave.
I checked my card counts and I have only 21 characters in the deck. This is too few. You usually want at least half your deck to be characters, because they are the ones who win stories. So I should get more characters in my deck. I should also concentrate more on effects that either put cards into my discard pile, or do something with cards that are in there.
Here are the best candidates:
Claude Owen. He gets characters back from both discard piles. He could even be another way to trick Yog into play if I can get Yog into my discard pile. The opponent does get a character back as well, but I get to borrow them for a turn and it really doesn’t matter anyway if the character I get is Yog!
Wentshukumishiteu (try saying that fast). This could help both with Claude Owen and Yog by putting characters (even Yog?) in my discard. It also helps with any other cards that have an effect that works from the discard. (The name comes from an actual Inuit mythological water-spirit).
Scholar from Yith. He isn’t a sorcerer but he has investigation, which I am short of, and an effect that works from discard.
So let’s add these three to the deck.
Now my deck’s main strategy is to dump cards into my discard pile until I have enough dead sorcerers to bring Yog into play. Cards with effects that work from the discard mean that these discarded card aren’t wasted. I’m not bothering about spells so much, Wilbur Whatley is there as a sorcerer and not for making spells cheaper.
What do I remove to make room for the new characters? I have far too many support cards, so let’s see which of them aren’t so good, or which doesn’t directly support my new key strategy:
One in All. This is a utility card that is dependent on the opponent having a support card that would be useful to me, and it doesn’t even stop my opponent using it. Also it is not helping my strategy.
Song of the Spheres. I already have a text blanking effect. This does also blank icons, but can be removed by the opponent so it is unlikely to stick.
Total Cards: (50)
3x Decrepit Wizard (The Key and the Gate)
2x Fthaggua (The Key and the Gate)
3x Lost Oracle (The Key and the Gate)
3x Nadine Eskiy (The Key and the Gate)
3x Professor Nathaniel Peaslee (The Key and the Gate)
3x Wilbur Whateley (The Key and the Gate)
3x Yog-Sothoth (The Key and the Gate)
3x Claude Owen (The Key and the Gate)
3x Scholar from Yith (The Key and the Gate)
2x Wentshukumishiteu (The Key and the Gate)
3x Elder Chasm (The Key and the Gate)
3x Frozen Time (The Key and the Gate)
2x Rite of the Silver Gate (The Key and the Gate)
2x Summon Spectral Hunter (The Key and the Gate)
2x Ys (The Key and the Gate)
2x Calling the Williwaw (The Key and the Gate)
2x Mists of Lethe (The Key and the Gate)
3x Temporal Slip (The Key and the Gate)
3x Vortex of Time (The Key and the Gate)